I am a trained acupressurist and can integrate this bodywork modality into our therapeutic work together.

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is a system of balancing the body’s energy by applying finger pressure to specific acu-points on the meridian pathways. These are the same meridian pathways and points used by doctors of Chinese Medicine during acupuncture.

The type of acupressure I am trained in uses classic Chinese acupuncture and acupressure theory along with traditional Japanese acupressure technique. It also draws on Taoist philosophy of Five Element Theory and Qigong (breathing and exercise techniques), Reichian segmental theory and a mindfulness-based therapy called Hakomi.

Acupressure helps release chronic tension and balance the “Qi” or energy allowing it to flow more freely so you feel more calm vitality.

During acupressure the client lies face-up, fully clothed on the massage table.  An appointment including acupressure can include verbal body focusing techniques and Hakomi approaches that combine the touch work with a body-centred psychotherapeutic process.

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About Five Element Theory

Five Element theory originated in ancient China and in Taoist philosophy. It is a complementary health-care approach that views the human being asa microcosm of the natural world, and as such humans are understood to be made up of the elements water, wood, fire, earth and metal.

Each element is associated with two organ meridians (or four, in the case of the Fire element), and describes aspects of their physiological functioning within the body.  The Five Elements are also deeply linked to the emotions, and in this way can be a useful bridging tool between our physical bodies and our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves.

Benefits of including acupressure as part of therapy:

    • Relaxation/release of tension
    • Calms the mind
    • Increases vitality
    • Encourages a sense of well being
    • Promotes flow of Qi or life force in the body
    • Helps to restore energy
    • Helps to create conditions of balance where healing can occur
    • Build your ability to be present with and release emotions
    • Offer a different frame for patterns of holding or unhelpful behaviours (e.g Five Element theory, Reichian segmental theory)
    • Help you to locate your points so you can use them for self-acupressure

If acupressure is something you are interested in, at the beginning of each appointment we would still start the appointment seated with a check-in and set our orientation for the appointment. At that point we can discuss what modalities might be appropriate and you can choose to include acupressure. It is always up to you whether we include acupressure in any appointment and how we divide the time you have.

Acupressure helps my body relieve aches and release uncomfortable tension. I leave feeling like my muscles and joints are far more relaxed than when I came in. It feels like it resets the tone and pace for my body when I am overwhelmed with life’s pressures. I can recall my first treatment of acupressure, where my body felt so relaxed afterwards that you could even recognize that my speech had even slowed down a pace. Definitely a great way to incorporate body and mind healing in one! Thank you Stephanie for your wonderful skillful work!

client N, May 2023

How can acupressure work with counselling?

Here are some examples of ways acupressure and body work can be integrated into psychotherapy:

  • We find a core theme during therapy which translates to the emotional aspect of a meridian or and element in Five Element Theory and we use acupressure and talk therapy to help explore and balance that meridian system.
  • We start on the table and I guide you into a mindful state and we simply are guided by what you become aware of (e.g. neck tension, a felt experience of anxiety) and I find related points to help explore and relieve tension.
  • On the table I use body-centred therapy approaches like Hakomi involving little physicalising experiments in mindfulness, say where I take over a certain pressure you are feeling (e.g. on your rib cage), and you notice and report on what happens which helps you understand how you are organising your experience, and ultimately to help take in a missing experience so your system can organise in a more healthful way. I might hold points that relate to the theme or emotion you are experiencing.

If we include acupressure can I still be reimbursed by my insurance?

The CRPO allows psychotherapist to include other modalities as long as practioners are insured, licensed and competant in the other modalilites practiced (which I am!), and the work done via acupressure is part of our broader counselling work. So I can bill this under my designation of Registered Psychotherapist.


Something I really appreciate about Stephanie is that she deeply values her clients and the therapeutic relationship. I hope you enjoy working with Stephanie as much as I did!

Marita Poll, previous supervisor

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